PEOPLE, POPULATION AND SETTLEMENT

Posted by on 1/30/2003 10:12:31 AM
Post Comment PEOPLE, POPULATION AND SETTLEMENT Nigeria
Ethnic Composition and Culture: The Ekitis, whose ancestors migrated from lleife as a people, o form one of the largest ethnic groups in Yorubaland. The Ekitis are culturally homogeneous and they speak a dialect of the Yoruba language known as a, Ekiti. The homogeneous nature of the Ekitis conicfers on the state some uniqueness among the states of the Federation. However, slight differences are noticeable in the Ekiti dialect of the Yoruba language spoken by the people. This is informed and influenced by their spatial locations especially the border communities to other states. For example, the people of Ado Local Government Area do not speak exactly the same dialect with the people of ljero Local Government Area, while the people of Ikole area speak something a shade dif ferent from the people of Ikere area. The Ekiti com munities influenced by their locations include Otun, (the Moba land) that speaks a dialect close to the one spoken by the lgbominas in Kwara and Osun states. The people of Okeako, Irele and Ornuo oke speak a dialect similar to that of the ljumus in Kogi State. The people of Ekiti West and Efon Alaaye LGAs speak a similar dialect to that of the ljesas of Osun State. However, part of the unique ness of the Ekitis is that wherever they may come from, they understand each other very well in con versation, in spite of dialectal variations. In terms of arts and culture, Ekiti state is among the richest in the Federation in the variety and qual ity of its traditional arts, music, poetry and witty say ings. There are as many as fifty traditional festivals in the state. Egungun, ljesu and Ogun festivals are celebrated in all parts of the state but the latter is associated, in particular, with IreEkiti. The Ekitis are good wood carvers, blacksmiths, and ornamen tal potters, mat weavers and basket makers. There are guilds established to control the operations of these crafts. Ekiti music consists mainly of folklore and moonlight songs. The folk music is usually interjected with folk tales which normally are both instructive and interesting. Population Structure and Distribution:As in all economies all over the world, human resources are of immense importance to the development of Ekiti State. Indeed, this state does not lack human resources. According to the population census of 1991, the state had 824,224 males and 804,538 females making a total of 1,628,762. The distribu tion of the population in Ekiti State according to LGAs is shown in Table 13:1. The population structure and distribution in Ekiti state have been affected by the great incidence of migration of Ekiti people to other parts of the coun try. The Ekiti people are found in various services and especially in education. They are found in many large cities of Nigeria. On the other hand, the state has many migrant farmers from all the south western states and from Kwara, Kogi and Benue states. Most of these farmers, especially from the Yoruba area, cultivate cocoa while others cultivate food crops such as the lgbira that cultivate yam. Some others serve as farm labourers and as tap pers of palmwine. Urban Development: The people of Ekiti State live mainly in towns, like most Yorubas. There are not less than 120 towns in Ekiti state. One important aspect of the Ekiti towns is the com mon suffix "Ekiti". Some of the towns include Ado, . the state capital, Aramoko, Ayedun, EfonAlaaye, it Emure, Ido, lgede, lgogo, ljero, ljesalsu, Ikere, Ikole, Ikoro, llawe, llupeju, Ire, lse, lye, Ode, Omuo, Otun and Oye. It should be noted that the urbani sation process in this state, as in other states of the federation, has been on the increase. There have been consistent efforts to encourage urbanisation through the creation of more states and local gov n ernment areas. Other factors that have aided urban development in Ekiti State are the establishment of n tertiary institutions, location of industrial plants and i many financial commercial institutions. Rural Development: The main occupation of Ekiti people is farming, hence the state is an agri cultural one and therefore has many rural settle ments. Prior to 1985, there had been a conspicu g ous neglect of the rural areas of Ekiti State. In I recent years, however, the state has been a beneficiary of concerted programmes to revitalise, devel op and transform the rural areas. The programmes e that have had significant impact on the develop is ment of the rural areas in the state include those of is the now defunct Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI), Better Life Programme, Family Support Programme, Family 3f Economic Advancement Programme and the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) particu ly larly its Self Help Programme. DFRRI was instrumental to the opening up of rural areas by constructing many feeder roads (about 750km in length). It also contributed in immensely to the overall development and well 's being of rural dwellers by sinking boreholes and 3f deep wells in many villages and suburban areas. In in addition, DFRRI assisted communities in the elec trification of their areas. During the Abacha admin 18 istration, these roles were partially performed by the defunct Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund (PTF). In to terms of economic development, DFRRI also encouraged rural dwellers to establish their own iti banks in all the LGAs with many of the rural 3f dwellers as shareholders. It is, however, disheartening that many of these banks have closed down. ss The Better Life Programme focused on rural in women and got them actively involved in process ie ing local food and fibre items such as cassava (gari), maize, rice and sisalhemp for better prices. The NDE programme also helped the rural dwellers in making available onthejob training to the young te school leavers, at both the secondary and tertiary n. levels, in modern farming, trades and industry. This assistance was usually in form of redeemable loans at very low interests with the repayments spread over a long period of time. All these programmes iti have helped to open up the rural areas in the state. Problem of Urban Primacy: For a very long time, AdoEkiti, the state capital, has been the focus and centre of activities for Ekiti people. Now, as the state capital and within a period of three years, it has started expanding over a large area. This expansion is due to the developmental projects and structures of a state capital. Not only these, Ado Ekiti has also become an attraction of many individ uals, agencies, commercial houses, corporate bod ies and even people from rural areas and smaller towns in the state. In this regard, AdoEkiti is fast becoming a primate city. Except the Capital Territory Development Agency takes quick action, the known urbanisation problems such as slums, waste disposal, unemployment, traffic holdups and crimes may be on the increase.



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